When doctors estimate the time you have left to live?
I told my family over lunch one time that I wish my dad’s doctor made it clear to us that he was about to die. I have mentioned that from where I am, people do not do well with confrontations, so our doctors, at most, just told us that he wasn’t doing very well. They didn’t tell us my dad was dying. I only knew he didn’t have much time left 36 hours before he passed.
I felt a bit enraged about this because it made me think they didn’t know what to do months before, and it made me wish I actually did know. These doctors must have encountered patients like my dad over and over again before. Moreover, my dad’s pulmonologist charged us a huge sum of money, when he didn’t actually do anything but look at my dad’s oximeter and check his breathing. I’m only a first year medical student and I don’t need a stethoscope to know that he was struggling. I do like my dad’s oncologist. She didn’t charge us anything except for a small sum, for taxes. But I was disappointed that she didn’t foresee that the last chemotherapy session the week before he died probably killed him.
My aunt, though, has a different viewpoint. She says she’s proud of the doctors for not saying anything, because only God can claim when a person will go. I believe that, too, but I also believe in science. I actually appreciate science in line with God. Every time we have Anatomy lectures, I think about God and how beautifully intricate the body is. I appreciate his creation, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to know about these things.
Since science has advanced tremendously, I believe doctors have a way of knowing how the body will deteriorate and can estimate how much time it has, although I also do believe in miracles. I believe they should’ve just told us what they think, that he didn’t have much long.
But come to think of it, I commend the doctors for not giving up on my dad, for believing he could still go on. My dad had hope that he would live, especially since I’m still in medical school and my brother hasn’t graduated. He had a lot of plans for the future. The doctors believed that my dad could actually hurdle through this again.
Everyone thought my dad had nine lives. He had somehow cheated death throughout his life. I found out some things about him only after he died. When he was around five, he got lost with his brother after convincing him to go home from school without waiting for their parents to pick him up. According to my uncle, they were actually walking on railroad tracks when a police officer found them. My grandma must’ve been very worried. My dad was also involved in a car accident that totaled his car. He came home all wounded and bruised as if nothing happened, but the ones who were with him were sent to the hospital. My dad had a license to fly private planes and helicopters, and he was a scuba diver, too. Unfortunately, he was a heavy drinker and a smoker. He didn’t believe in exercise, and fatty foods were his life. If he didn’t tolerate that lifestyle, he could’ve lived a hundred years. Since he was diagnosed three years ago, he’s had countless chemo sessions, four seizures, four times he was put on a mechanical ventilator. He’s had his skull cracked open for an abscess to be removed. I was so used to him falling unconscious and waking up again as if nothing happened. I just didn’t know the fourth one was the last one.
But my dad is human, and God wanted Him back. God wanted Him in peace. That, I can’t question, and for that, I’m thankful.